The Story of Luke Could Use More Grit

A feel-good story about an autistic man's quest for independence, The Story of Luke is a charming little film in need of a bit more grit. After the grandmother who raised him dies, 25-year-old Luke (Lou Taylor Pucci) is sent to live with his aunt and uncle (Kristin Bauer van Straten and Cary Elwes). Luke is a high-functioning autistic who longs to find a real job so he can get his own place and, more important, ask a pretty receptionist (Sabryn Rock) out on a date. Peruvian-born writer-director Alonso Mayo, making his feature debut, has a flair for small, funny riffs, as when Luke's manic new boss (Seth Green) offers Luke a play-by-play commentary on a water-cooler mating dance between two co-workers. Luke would like to be liked, but he's not going to compromise his annoying, rule-laden worldview to win hearts, a philosophy the talented Pucci embodies with admirable rigor. One wishes that Mayo had been equally tough-minded. Luke faces challenges, to be sure, both within himself and out in the world, but even the meanies at the office are only sitcom-mean. In the end, Luke's path to self-empowerment is funny and sweet and a little too easy.

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